Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Plain Pain Packaging - The Smokers Repost

So Australia is going to introduce plain packaging laws from December 2012 to inhibit the promotional packaging power of cigarettes. Hmmm. That was my first reaction. Now I’ve had a chance to think about it and my reaction is – hmmm.
I’ve been trying to recall when I first started smoking, or rather started buying cigarettes. I’ve been racking my brains to think if the packaging ever made a difference to which brand I would buy or whether it swayed me into becoming a smoker in the first place and the answer is an unequivocal ‘no’.
If you were to take a casual look at the design of any cigarette packet, one thing that hits you immediately is how boring they are. Take a pack of Marlboro Lights for example (Marlboro Gold to our younger audience). It’s a white box with a kind of faint finger-print design in the background with a gold arrow on it. Now unless you’re a magpie or some kind of pan-handling purist, it’s not exactly the sexiest image ever. Does it make me want to buy Marlboro Lights? No. Do I still smoke Marlboro Lights? Yes.
Quite frankly it could have a horrific bestiality scene on the cover and I’d still buy them. Why? - Because I’m chemically addicted to nicotine. If the warning pictures on the cover don’t put people off then nothing will. I’ve yet to see a person walk into a shop and say – “Wow, what’s that packet over there with the moustachioed man with a tumour the size of a grapefruit on his neck? He looks like a cool guy. I’d like a tumour like that, 400 cigarettes please!”
If governments want to help smokers quit then why not make nicotine replacement free to all. Instead NR is just as expensive if not more so than smoking (certainly in the UK). Given a choice of quitting at a greater expense or choosing the cheaper option – what do they expect? So it boils down, in these austere times, to a money making exercise again – with the ultimate cost the lives of the smokers. Banning packaging is an Elastoplast on the problem, a conciliatory gesture that ultimately helps no-one. At best it’s preventative, as it won’t stop those already hooked on nicotine, at worst it’s a further slap in the face to smokers.
What the Australian government are doing is skirting around the issue again. Ban them in public places, make them really expensive, hide them under the counter, package them in olive green wrapping (one of my favourite colours by the way) - anything but the obvious. Anything to continue the piecemeal gestures that suggest that, they, in some small way care about the health of smokers, because if they did care, if they really were staunch in their convictions, they’d do every smoker in the world a favour – and stop selling them altogether. Next week I’ll discuss how the United States intends to stop gun crime by painting smiley faces onto ammunition. Gadzooks! MT.

Monday, 9 January 2012


As Jonathan plunged through the air, storey by storey rushing past like a flick book of shiny reflective images, he could see his life unravel before him. Bubbles of precious oxygen, trapped in amniotic fluid, became the terrible miracle of birth; emerging from the cavernous dark into a cold world of fingers and scissors. Childhood seamlessly becomes adolescence in a blur of ice cream and party balloons, tantrums and ageing cartoons. The unpleasantness of puberty awkwardly passes in a blink of the secretary's eye, on-looking from the fortieth floor's accountancy firm; a company he had never cared for and whom coincidentally had never cared for him.
               Exams and GAPS linger longer but never more than an afterthought. University days are lost, as memories can only be recalled where memory exists. His working life stretched out before him, miles of blank road with grey featureless terrain trickling onwards in slow motion. Jon could feel tears in his wind-stung eyes, tears driven by gravity into his ears, intermingling with the screaming rush of suicidal gale. He catches a glimpse through the reflection of his thrashing-limbed body, of a man, bespectacled and be-suited, standing dumbstruck, hot palms against glass watching the end. That was my job and that was me, he thinks as the kiss of concrete looms larger. Ten seconds from inception to interception, by the pavement outside Starbucks, there less than a month, usurpers of thirty years of previous cafe culture, disingenuous to the last. Ten seconds, enough time for reflection and regret. Chances missed, chances snatched away and chances invisible to the naked eye. Jonathan never took a chance in his life. The world grows larger in the twin windows and he feels the brunt of the fall from grace. Hero to.

Distant sirens fade, as someone hands him a voucher for free chilled coffee. Fingers find no grip now and the flimsy slip, slips down the pavement's cracks of impact. People make a fuss and turn away. They shouldn't, he thinks his last. I got what was coming to me.

M. Trevelean 2005 - First published on Writers Billboard February 2009.

Who is this guy?

M. Trevelean at your service. I'm a young (yet of legal age - perverts beware) writer who specialises in, lets call it dark fiction. I write contemporary tales, anything goes, there are no limits to the imagination. I write because I enjoy it - I don't want to be famous, I don't want to be stalked by paparazzi, I don't want my name in lights. I don't want to read about myself getting married to a she-male talent show winner on a cloud made from fairy tears.

I just want to write and have some fun while I do it. That's all.



Hello and welcome to my blog, written by me - M. Trevelean. Here you will find all manner of distractions, diversions, banter, rants and if you're that way inclined - some new material, old and new. I hope you enjoy what you find, I can be a raving, cantankerous S.O.B but take it with a pinch of salt - rather like life. I like to observe, comment, criticise, poke fun and undermine, for my own amusement most of the time and with a bit of luck to the amusement of others. So welcome, pull up a chair, pour yourself a stiff drink and lets have a giggle together at the broken, weird, contradictory world we live in. Cheers! MT.